The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector fell to 49.3 in October from 49.8 in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.
A breakdown of the data showed manufacturing production stayed in expansion zone and raw material delivery continued to accelerate, NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe said.
The sub-index for production edged down 1.5 percentage points to 50.8 in October, and that measuring the speed of raw materials delivery by suppliers was down by 0.4 percentage points to 50.1, both above the demarcation line that separates expansion from contraction.
Among the 21 manufacturing sectors surveyed, 13 saw continuous production expansion, said Zhao.
The sub-index gauging manufacturing firms' demand for employees rebounded by 0.3 percentage points to 47.3, while the sub-indices of new orders and raw material inventory slid.
The reading also showed industrial upgrading continued apace, with high-tech manufacturing, equipment manufacturing and consumption-related sectors maintaining expansion, Zhao said.
Thursday's data also showed China's composite PMI edged down 1.1 percentage points to 52, signaling that overall production by manufacturing and non-manufacturing enterprises kept expanding.